Daily Archives: March 12, 2012

Tracy K. Smith, on Getting to that Untamed, Untrained Place to Write.

All of us need to learn how to step away from the controls when we write first drafts or take on deep revisions.This essay speaks to the need for and importance of letting go.

My daughter is screaming in the next room because she wants her father to give her something he is not willing to let her have.  Her little voice has swelled and stretched so it now seems to be something she could, if she wanted, ride down the stairs and out the front door of our building.  I want! I hear her say, the a of it opening up into a wide, flat surface, while the anger winds and unwinds itself like the engine of a well-built vehicle. I waaaant!

When I first started writing poems seriously, I remember longing for that kind of unappeasable need, longing to tap into something capable of causing so much internal unrest I’d have to step aside and let it have its way.  I didn’t have my daughter’s sense of purpose, perhaps, or her innocent belief in the veracity of her own need and the…

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Seeking that Elusive Aha Moment

It’s the surprise discovery that ties everything together. It’s the jolt of clarity that I feel in  in my core. It’s the suddenly acquired measure of wisdom that will be part of me for the rest of my days. It’s what I hope to find when I read.  And it’s why I write.

The greatest Aha Moment that I’ve ever read is  Carver’s, “A Small Good Thing.” If you haven’t read it, stop whatever  you’re doing and read it.   Continue reading

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